NovaUCD joins ESA consortium to support space industry start-ups

Posted 16 March, 2021

NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin. Photo: Nick Bradshaw, Fotonic

NovaUCD has joined the ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland consortium to better support entrepreneurs and start-ups in the space industry.

This national consortium, led by the Tyndall National Institute and funded by ESA and Enterprise Ireland, focuses on a wide range of sectors such as agri-tech, data analytics, bee husbandry, architecture and planning, and med-tech, in addition to the budding space industry.

By joining the consortium, NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, will be designated as one of five ESA BIC Ireland locations.

Eligible start-ups which successfully apply to locate at NovaUCD through ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland will be able to avail of support provided through the ESA BIC network alongside the support programmes and activities provided by NovaUCD.

These companies also receive €50,000 project funding for development of their enterprise.

The other ESA BIC Ireland locations, alongside Tyndall at UCC and NovaUCD, are, Athlone Institute of Technology’s Midlands Innovation and Research Centre, Maynooth Works at Maynooth University, and MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and the Blue Economy research and innovation.

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Damien English, TD, welcomed the expansion of the ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland consortium, acknowledging its impact in the sector.

“With the support of my Department, Enterprise Ireland, and our continued investment in the European Space Agency, ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland has supported the development of more than 20 new enterprises across the country, all of whom received critical project funding and incubation supports,” he said.

“It is important that we continue to back the talent of the people and the organisations in this sector so that they can continue to make an impact in their respective fields of excellence.”

Peter Finnegan, ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland Manager, stated that, “having an organisation of the calibre of NovaUCD joining the consortium greatly enhances the overall offering available to Irish SMEs.”

“The excellent facilities available on the Belfield campus will appeal to many of our Dublin based applicants. This positive development will help to increase awareness of the supports that companies can access through our various initiatives,” he added.

Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation said: “I am delighted that NovaUCD has been designated as an ESA BIC location. We now look forward to working with our consortium colleagues in Athlone, Cork and Maynooth, to support space-active companies in the exchange of technologies between space and non-space sectors, contributing to the success of the Irish Government’s space strategy for enterprise.”

“At NovaUCD we recently expanded our capacity to house start-ups by over 50% and we plan to dedicate a portion of this capacity and our company development programmes to support a cluster of space active and related companies to achieve their global ambitions.”

NovaUCD has already supported a number of space active spin-out and spin-in companies such as; ENBIO, O.C.E. Technology, ProvEye and PlasmaBound, and has a strong track record of helping start-ups to grow and scale internationally.

ESA BIC Ireland is one of 22 ESA BICs located across Europe.

By: Staff Writers, UCD University Relations (with materials from Micéal Whelan, UCD Research and Innovation)